The Friday Five – Discover Your Creative Gifts

The Friday Five boats 1

Join me every Friday when I run down inspiring links and t’ings.  Our current theme is “What have you done with your Gifts?”

Previous TFF’s can be seen here.

For the last four years I have been the facilitator of the art programme of Cancer Support Services Barbados.  It has been such a wonderful experience and, in sharing what I know, I have received so much more in return.

In today’s Friday Five I’d like to share with you what I have learned by being the facilitator and instructor of a visual arts programme.

group artwork

Insight 1:  Make it a place where people want to come.

Art is a vehicle for self expression so there are no mistakes.  Take care to create an encouraging and supportive environment where participants feel comfortable experimenting and discovering their innate creativity.

Insight 2:  Be sensitive to student needs

The concept of fairness in the classroom does not mean treating everyone the same.  It means giving them what they need to feel successful.  Some students will need additional assistance and encouragement to “let their hair down”.

Insight 3:  Enthusiasm is contagious–remember to bring yours!

‘Nuff said.

Insight 4:  Embrace guest teachers

One  facilitator cannot know everything, so invite other artists to share their talents.  In this way you are assured to incorporate the interests of the group into the curriculum.  One of our most successful units was paper making and card making facilitated by a wonderful guest teacher.

Insight 5:  Building and maintaining a successful programme takes time and commitment.

It takes time to build trust and to get to know people.  It also takes continuous effort on the part of a facilitator to maintain interest and encourage participants to make art between classes.  Take it from me, it is worth your best efforts.  You will be rewarded beyond expectation.




The Friday Five – Discover Your Creative Gifts

The Friday Five boats 1

Join me every Friday when I run down inspiring links and t’ings.  Our current theme is “What have you done with your Gifts?”

Previous TFF’s can be seen here.

July 2015 marks the 4th anniversary for The Art Programme at Cancer Support Services Barbados. Many of the participants have been with the group since its inception. As programme facilitator, I’d like to share some insights from the journey of those who were initially convinced that they didn’t have a creative bone in their body.  I hope the lessons we learned will urge you to begin your own creative journey.

Insight 1: Start Small
The class started simply, each student equipped with an artist’s pen and piece of paper. We doodled.

Over time, artwork blossomed from this,


to this,

group artwork

to this!


Insight 2: Keep moving forward
As time went on we developed skills and took on more artistic challenges. We learned how to make paper, prints on a geli plate and expressed ourselves using mixed media.

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Insight 3: Before we knew it…..
We embraced our creative side and discovered that we are all creative. It’s amazing what happens when you nurture your talent.

Insight 4: Just when we thought we couldn’t push ourselves any further, we stretched yet again.
In May we held our first Art Exhibition and learned how to make prints from our artwork. The press came to our opening, we made the papers and we were on the local newscast!

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And then, to put the icing on the cake prints of the students’ artwork were presented to speakers at Cancer Support Services’ annual conference.

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Insight 5: Art class isn’t just about the art
We also realized that the classes aren’t only about creating –we made new friends with which to share, learn and feel part of a community. We celebrate birthdays and support each other during the tough times. It has been a very worthwhile journey.

So for those of you who think you aren’t creative, or wish you had a vehicle for self expression, art is waiting for you. Come and discover your gifts.

To find out more about Cancer Support Services Barbados and the Art Programme visit their website here and connect with them on Facebook here.


Featured Creative — Anja Hertle

Sunflowers in a Jug 16" x 20"

Sunflowers in a Jug 16″ x 20″

Earlier this year I attended The One of A Kind Show – Spring Edition in Toronto.  I’d like to share with you profiles of gifted artists whose work truly stood out for me as one of a kind.

The first artist is Anja Hertle, a mosaic artist from Grafton, Ontario.  What struck me about Anja’s work is the delight of the unexpected–each of her works incorporates not only tiles, but found gems such as buttons, dice, letters, bottle caps and other wonderfully recycled items.

Viewing Anja’s work from a distance and then again at close range provides fresh perspective and reveals additional discoveries.   Take a look at these photos of her work–I love all these bits of “unexpectedness”…the owl and bird on the building, the unconventional centers of the sunflowers, the unexpected elements in the fish.  Her work is truly “One of a Kind”.

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I asked Anja to share with us her inspiration and vision in her own words:

Over the last 16 years creating mosaics has become my passion. Playing with the color, pattern and texture of recycled china, pottery and tile as well as adding whimsical touches using found objects such as forks, type writer keys or bottle caps is so much fun!

I am always on the look out for supplies, at second hand stores or garage sales but also get a lot of donations. I use very low tech tools such as tile nippers to cut and build my own frames for the artwork. The design ideas are found all around me, nature in our beautiful garden, architectural elements from travels and kids at play in everyday life.

My work is for sale at several locations in Ontario, at Art and Craft Sales such as the One of a Kind Show in Toronto and the Cabbage Town Festival. I teach workshops in my studio as well as in the school system, and will travel. Check out my website for upcoming shows, galleries, workshops, current works for sale.

I also love that Anja shares her time and talents teaching workshops to adults and children.  Check out her website here.  You can also connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.